Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gone Too Soon - Michael Jackson's Prophetic Song

I thought I knew most of the great songs for dealing with loss, but this one, "Gone Too Soon" written by Michael Jackson came out while I was in Medical School and didn't get much air play, so was one that I missed.

The song has been going through my head since I heard Usher sing it at the memorial services. The song is a beautiful message of sadness and sorrow over the loss of a friend, but more so as a prophetic message of Michael Jackson's own passing.
Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire,
To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night
"Gone Too Soon" is a song written by Michael Jackson as a Musical Memorial Tribute for his friend Ryan White, a young boy at the center of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980's. Ryan was a hemophiliac who contracted the disease from blood transfusions, before the blood supply was screened.

You can watch a live performance of the song by Michael Jackson below from President Clinton's 1992 Inaugural Ball.

Knowing Life Might End Too Soon
Sometimes people have a sense of their own mortality. Working with younger hospice patients in particular, one gets a sense that they know they are dying.

According to Lisa Marie Presley, Michael Jackson's wife, he may have had a sense, a knowing that he would die young, like her father (Elvis Presley) had. Soon after his death she posted on her MySpace Page, Michael had told her:
"I am afraid that I am going to end up like him (Elvis), the way he did."

I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.
Their conversation would have occurred several years after "Gone Too Soon" was recorded and released.

Passing the Torch

This poignant, prophetic nature of this song also reminds me of a quote that seems to apply by George Bernard Shaw:
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
Michael Jackson now joins the rankings of Princess Diana, John Lennon, John F. Kennedy Jr., Steve Irwin, John Denver and John Kennedy and so many others who shone brightly as possible but passed that torch on much too soon.

This blog post was the inspiration to create a tribute lens on Squidoo for all of those, famous and not so famous who have Gone Too Soon.

Image Source: NASA. Comets. Planetary Systems Library. Government Document.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Smile - A Beautiful Heartfelt Musical Memorial

It was only fitting at the Michael Jackson memorial service that was a celebration of his life ceremony that there were so many moving musical tributes. This service was a event shared around the world, a moment when the world stopped to grieve, to breathe and to remember together.

One of the more touching moment for me came first with Brooke Shields reminiscences that Michael Jackson's favorite song was "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin. His brother Jermaine took the stage with his version of "Smile."

"Smile" has been one of my favorite songs, a song that helps people cope with death and loss. The words of "Smile" offer hope as a way of making it though on those tough days.
Smile though your heart is aching;
Smile even though it's breaking.

That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.

Smile is a good song to remember and to listen to on days when the world seems to b e filled with sadness, like this day when we said good by to the person being called "the greatest entertainer that has ever lived."

Dyer K. Smile Though Your Heart is Aching. Squidoo.
Dyer K. 2007. Life is still worthwhile if you just smile - An Inspirational Song by Josh Groban. Grief, Loss and Transitions Blog.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pocket Cemetery Inspired by Recent Celebrity Deaths

The pre-release of the new iPhone app, Pocket Cemetery has been inspired by the recent series of celebrity deaths, most notably Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays.

Remembering Michael Jackson

Remembering Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays

About Pocket Cemetery

According to their Website Pocket Cemetery is the first iPhone application that allows users to create virtual memorials for departed loved ones using customizable tombstones with pictures, bios and favorite memories. Users can easily create personalized plots for dead relatives, friends, pets, celebrities or anyone they want to memorialize. Aside from creating memorials, Pocket Cemetery also allows users to place virtual flowers on graves along with sending personal prayers and messages to dead loved ones.

Debating the Merits of Pocket Cemetery

Technology people are twittering and debating the merits of an application like Pocket Cemetery. Many feel it is exploiting those who have experienced a loss. With an introductory price of $1.99 and the regular price of $2.99, it seems like a very small price to pay for an application that could be very beneficial in helping someone cope with a loss.

Share Your thoughts on Pocket Cemetery

You can share your thoughts on Pocket Cemetery on the Pocket Cemetery page or by Tweeting your thoughts on Twitter with the hashcode #iGrief.

I am curious to know what some of the other people in the fields of grief, loss, bereavement and death and dying think about using new technologies to help those grieving a loss.


Dyer K. 2009. Pocket Cemetery: A Way to Carry Departed Loved Ones in a Pocket.

Press Release. 2009. New iPhone App Memorializes Dead Loved Ones In The Palm Of Your Hand. PRWeb.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rest in Peace - June's Deaths

People often believe when a celebrity dies, they go in three's. This isn't the case for the month of June.

There must be something in the air or the planets must be in the wrong alignment during the month of June. In the span of a couple of weeks we have lost more than just a few celebrities. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays and early in the month David Carradine.

Hopefully the trend won't be continuing into July. Yesterday we saw the death of Karl Malden.

Some of these deaths were more anticipated--Ed McMahon and Karl Malden both advanced ages, Farrah Fawcett battling cancer--some of these deaths were sudden, accidental and unexpected--Michael Jackson and Billy Mays both only 50 years old.

I found this image from Mary Ann Hernandez this morning and the photo was such a good visual and a healing visual in some ways. It helped put all of these deaths into some perspective.

The other song that has been going through my head this week after hearing the death of Michael Jackson is the Righteous Brothers, Rock and Roll Heaven.
If there's a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they've got a hell of a band.
Thoughts and condolences to all of the families, friends and fans of those who have died this June.

Dyer KA. 2009. Twitter to Announce Deaths, Send Sympathies and Condolences. Squidoo.
Dyer KA. 2009. June 25, 2009. A “Where were you when…” Day. Grief, Loss and Bereavement Edublog.

Image Source: Mary Ann Hernandez. R.I.P. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.